5 Ways To Wean Your Baby From Breastfeeding
What's the best way to wean your little one from breastfeeding?
It's not easy to stop breastfeeding especially when your baby asks for it, and you feel emotionally attached. Maternity and Postpartum Consultant and Certified Doula, Sasha Romary, has five ways to gently stop breastfeeding.
Whether you are going back to work, you are expecting another baby or you are just ready for your breastfeeding journey to end, weaning off of the breast can be a challenging time for both you and your little one.
Below are some top tips for weaning your babe or toddler off of the breast and how to overcome some common hurdles!
1. don't offer, don't refuse
This is probably the most gentle approach to breastfeeding weaning. The idea is to simply not offer your breast but if baby wants it, do not refuse. The theory is that over time, baby will become more independent and choose their nutrition from a sippy cup that they control themselves instead of from you.
2) go slow
Remember that this is a transition time for you and for baby. Approach weaning one feeding at a time so that your supply adjusts and you do not become engorged. This will also be easier on baby. Starting with your baby’s least important feed, remove the breast and once this has been established, continue on to another feeding time. Don’t attempt it all at once as your supply will not have time to adjust and you may become engorged. Additionally, your little one might act out in protest making the process just that much more difficult for you. Be patient.
When baby asks for the breast, offer a favorite snack instead. This can be done preemptively if you know that around 11am, for example, baby will want to nurse, come prepared with a special snack to offer instead. This puts a positive spin on the weaning instead of putting yourself in a situation where you have to refuse the breast which can be a difficult thing for you and baby emotionally.
4) change your routine
Maybe baby only nurses when you are at home? Or maybe as soon as baby sees you in the morning they want to nurse? Change up the schedule so that you are out and about when nursing instincts hit or have Daddy go and get baby in the morning. Sometimes a simple change in schedule can help a transition.
5) shorter sessions
The idea is to limit the nursing sessions by a minute or so slowly until baby does not feel like they need that feed anymore. By the time you will be weaning off the breast, baby will most likely be eating pretty regular meals of solids. If you place your nursing sessions directly after a meal of solids, baby will most likely not be as hungry which will help encourage shorter sessions.
You’ve got this Mama!
Weaning baby off the breast can be an emotional time for you as a mother. Your baby is growing up and becoming independent and breastfeeding for many is a very special time.
Take it slowly and allow you and baby to adjust to the change, both physically and emotionally. It will take time and patience on both sides but you have made the decision and in time, you and baby will be nursing free.